Dynamic Contents Page?

Hi there,

First of all, I would like to thank you for a great software that finally weaned me off M$ word. I’m a new Scrivener user writing a PhD thesis at the moment and so far tinkering with it (my existing chapters) has given me great hopes for this software.

I do have a question which I have been unable to find an answer to – I’m very accustomed to seeing page numbers to get a sense of how far I’ve come in the writing process (I appreciate that screenwriters et al might require a different format) and the export draft option is just brilliant because it allows me to compile the entire thesis in the way I’ve envisioned it.

Now the question is, if I have a contents page at the beginning of the thesis listing the various chapters/subsections, is there someway of inserting the respective page numbers dynamically somehow (i.e. if chapter 5 begins at page 72 for example), is there a way to update that correspondingly on the contents page at the beginning of the thesis? Or do I have to export everything first (I was thinking Pages application of iWork) and then manually update the draft before printing? I hope that makes sense, as I would like to know in advance how to resolve this so I get it right from the beginning.

Just one further question, under “Show Project Targets” in “Statistics” there is a “Session Target” – do I just input say 500 words for one particular writing session that I hope to achieve and it will show me my current progress? If so that is absolutely wicked! That’s it for now, and any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Scrivener doesn’t attempt to do anything with table of contents, as in the current version it really has no running conceptualisation of pages. The best you can do is cross-reference style named counters to get matching number schemes in a ToC list and parts & chapters themselves. As you might have noticed, you can get a rough calculation in Statistics which does a reasonable job, but might be off by a bit depending on the final format.

Actually people doing scripts need accurate pages and counts more than most other writing professions. They use pages for minutes in terms of running time calculation and scene breaks. There will be a “page layout” view in the next version of Scrivener which will print out text on something that looks like a page, and particularly in cases like scripts which use a fixed font, should provide an accurate running page calculation. It was developed primarily for scripting, but should be useful to anyone that likes to count pages, or prefers the aesthetic of simulated paper.

Until then, you can use the Statistics tool to get a rough count now and then. Oh and yes, you understand the session progress bar perfectly. It’s meant for “daily goal” type scenarios, but actually will reset every time you quit and start Scrivener.

I’ve hesitated before posting this, as what I am about to suggest would present you with two more learning curves when you are currently getting to grips with Scrivener, but …

Have you considered using Latex for your final output?

The Scrivener --> Multimarkdown --> Latex workflow is ideal for producing a thesis. You write in Scrivener, focusing on words and structure, keeping an eye on the word count (which is what matters in thesisworld), then export via Multimarkdown to Latex and let all the power of Latex handle layout, page numbering, tables of contents, figures, bibliography.

I wish that work flow had been available 20 years ago when I was finishing my thesis.

I wrote the text at home on an Amstrad WP 8256, did some kind of mark up on it - I remember

tags, then took lots of little files on 3" floppy disks into the university and uploaded them onto the mainframe, then stitched all the pieces together and produced the output as a batch job.

The biggest trauma was the week before I was due to submit and, early one morning, I sent the whole thesis to print. I screwed up one parameter, and when I collected the print out the next evening found I had 600 plus perfectly printed A4 landscape pages. I had a bad weekend.
</unreliable memories>


Hi guys

Sorry for late reply – been going hard at the writing and I’m truly amazed how much easier this little app has made writing for me. Heck, I’m even enjoying it at the moment!!

That’s good to know about the next version of scrivener, yes I did notice there is a page count feature except that I wouldn’t know exactly which chapter/section began on which page :slight_smile: but yes I’ve been using the target word count feature which is brilliant. Now if they would put in a nice alarm going “ding ding!” every time you hit a target that would be brilliant. Think pavlovian method of writing! Now that’s a pipe dream :slight_smile:

MrGruff – thanks for pointing that out. I was wondering about Latex and multi-mark down but have not the slightest clue what it is. The thing is I’m doing a thesis on french deconstruction and indian buddhist philosophy, so I have to input English, French and Sanskrit (yes with all the diacritical marks) hence if this allows me to keep all my formatting that would be great. If you could go into more detail how you use this combination that would be insightful indeed, and I can catch up on the rest by reading the manual notes. The thing is, I really like to find out how people incorporate different bits of software in a writing project. :slight_smile:

My current set up goes something like this: I read books and take notes (of citations and thought etc.) into Devonthink (not the pro version though) and do that religiously until I begin writing. Once I start writing I just switch over to DT when I need to look for an idea/concept and trawls through the entire archive of notes I’ve made. I still haven’t managed to find a good way to incorporate labels or tags in either Scrivener/DT into my workflow. I know some people might import the DT notes into Scrivener under Research and do everything from within. But I quite like the contextual “See Also” function in DT.

That said, I’m gonna go download a copy of Latex and give it a spin. Any other suggestions/help are always much appreciated. Well it’s a great day out (for once!) and I better hit the pool before my brain goes into screen saver mode lol.

p.s: wow you did your thesis on an Amstrad! The first computer I had was a 486 but hell am I glad I switched over to Mac 10 years ago. But those were the days of booting up an entire OS from a floppy disk! The mind truly boggles lol.

*Edit: just poking around and downloading a copy of LaTeX right now. I’m also using bookends as my biblio scanning app. Will that play well with this work-flow? I hope I won’t end up having to deal with too many temporary delimiters and codes and such! Thanks!